Tunnel Vision

Israel shuts down a threat to its borders, Ontario's pot license lottery leaves a lot to chance and Missy Elliott makes history.

Tunnel Vision

Israel shuts down a threat to its borders, Ontario's pot license lottery leaves a lot to chance and Missy Elliott makes history.
Western Wall in the Old City of Jerusalem, the most important jewish religious site with al-Aqsa mosque (right) and Dome of the Rock (left) on the background.

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✨  Good morning! Today is Monday, January 14, 2019 and the internet is truly a baffling place.

BULLETIN: Access Denied

• The Background

While POTUS is busy ranting about America’s supposed border woes, Israel has been actively doing something about theirs. This weekend, PM Benjamin Netanyahu said that his country has successfully completed its mission to find and destroy six tunnels along the Israeli-Lebanese border it says were dug by Hezbollah militants. Global News

• What Else You Need to Know

Back in December, the Israeli army launched “Operation Northern Shield” to find and destroy what it said was a vast network of tunnels dug by the Lebanese militant group with the aim of conducting cross border attacks. On Saturday night, Israeli military spokesman Lt.-Col. Jonathan Conricus said it found the last of these elaborate tunnels, describing it as being 55 metres deep and complete with stairs, a rail system, and a passageway wide enough to fit “a large number of forces.” He added that the structure would be dismantled over the next few days, and that according to the military’s “intelligence and our assessment of the situation there are no longer any cross-border attack tunnels from Lebanon into Israel.”

• What’s Next?

Along with shutting down the tunnels, Netanyahu tweeted Sunday that Israel had “attacked an Iranian weapons warehouse at the Damascus International Airport,” as part of its mission to “prevent Iran’s military establishment in Syria.” He also promised to step up the attacks “if necessary.” Syria has reportedly filed complaints with the UN Security Council over the strikes.


• Bakery Blast

Firefighters were already on the scene at 9 a.m. Saturday morning when a gas leak caused a bakery to explode in central Paris. A woman’s body pulled from the wreckage yesterday brought the death toll to a total of four people, including two firefighters. A total of 54 people were injured by the blast, including a firefighter who was trapped under the rubble for two and a half hours. Nine people are still in critical condition. Residents and tourists forced to evacuate Paris’ 9th arrondissement have received temporary accommodations, as well as meals and clothing donations. CBC


• Canada: Job Circuit

PM Justin Trudeau is set to announce a fresh cabinet shake up today, but news of one job switch leaked yesterday evening: Indigenous Services Minister Jane Philpott will leave her post to take on the role of president of the Treasury Board, where she’ll oversee the government’s fiscal operations. Philpott will replace long-time MP Scott Brison in the job; Brison announced his resignation from the role on Thursday, along with news that he would not be seeking re-election in the fall. Presumably, Philpott’s replacement in Indigenous Services will be revealed at today’s swearing-in ceremony. CBC News

• U.S.: Leaning Left

With just 659 days to go until Americans cast their votes in their 2020 presidential election (too soon for a countdown?), the competition is heating up. On Saturday, Julián Castro, who acted as the Secretary of Housing and Urban Development under President Obama, announced his intention to seek the Democratic nomination for the 2020 election. Previously serving as the mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014, Castro, 44, is a native Texan and grandson of a Mexican immigrant. In a speech launching his campaign, he took several jabs at Trump’s “crisis of leadership,” and vowed to address the “broken immigration system” and “make sure that the opportunities that [he] had are available to every American.” Castro will face off against over 400 others competing for the Democratic nomination, including Hawaii’s House Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who announced her candidacy this weekend, and is already being raked over the coals for past remarksGlobe and Mail

• World: Like Brexit, But Dexit

Alternative für Deutschland (AfD), Germany’s far-right party, is taking a page out of the dating playbook, serving the EU with an ultimatum that could make or break the bloc. The party voted to campaign the EU to evolve to meet the AfD’s nationalistic ideals, or face losing Germany, in a move they’re calling Dexit (duh…). AfD co-leader Alexander Gauland told delegates prior to the vote, “We don’t need to abolish the EU, but bring it back to its sensible core,” and insisted the party has partners in Austria and Italy who would “walk the path with us.” The Guardian


Then we have a shutdown and so they can’t go to work, and so then they have the vacation but they don’t have to use their vacation days.

– White House economic adviser Kevin Hassett asserts that government workers furloughed by the federal shutdown (which, by the way, is now the longest such crisis in U.S. history) are “better off” for it. (Who really needs a paycheque anyway, right?) CNN


• Pot Luck

Over 17,000 companies entered Ontario’s cannabis retail lottery and the 25 winners were announced Saturday. They now have until January 18 to submit applications for a license to operate a brick-and-mortar pot shop. The majority of the winners were individuals rather than corporations, unsurprising given that entrepreneurs represented 64 per cent of applicants. “To be expected I guess but a terrible way to operate,” tweeted cannabis lawyer Trina Fraser, who suspects only “four or five stores” will open by April 1. Ontario hopes to have 25 cannabis stores operational by April 1 and the Alcohol and Gaming Commission of Ontario has levied a $25,000 fine on applicants who fail to open their stores by April 30. Financial Post


• Sous Chef 2.0

Tech company NVIDIA has opened a new lab in Seattle to house its robotics research and development, starting with a robot that’ll give Uber Eats a run for its money. With the goal of creating robots that can assist humans in new and unknown environments, NVIDIA has developed the “kitchen manipulator,” which uses “deep learning” to eagerly seek out and track objects like cooking tools and ingredients. Once these robots have learned to expertly navigate and assist within kitchens, NVIDIA believes they’ll have no trouble finding their way through other complex environments, too, and helping humans on a much more personal level. (Our minds are going to all the wrong places right now…) Engadget


• Belle of the Ball

46-year-old Sarah Thomas made history as the first woman to referee an NFL playoff game on Sunday. She served as the down judge for the AFC Divisional Playoff game between the Los Angeles Chargers and New England Patriots, but this wasn’t Thomas’s first time in the spotlight – she was the first woman to referee a college football bowl game and in 2015 became the first full-time female referee in the NFL. “She’d stand firm in her calls, and you couldn’t come up to her with any BS,” said Steve Smith Sr., NFL Network analyst and former wide receiver. “If guys tried to challenge her, she didn’t back down.”Global News


• Work It

Speaking of female record breakers, this weekend Missy Elliot became the first female hip-hop artist to be inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in all of its 50-year history. A five-time Grammy award winning artist, Missy Elliot has written for stars like Beyoncé, Janet Jackson, and Mary J. Blige. She joins previous winners Jay-Z and Jermaine Dupri as the third rapper to receive the honour. The 2019 winners, which include Yusuf Islam (formerly Cat Stevens), John Prine, Tom T. Hall, Dallas Austin, and Jack Tempchin, will be officially inducted to the Hall of Fame at the 50th annual Induction & Awards Gala on June 13. CBS


• Say Cheese!

According to Costco there are two types of people in the world, those that love mac and cheese and those that want to be up to their eyeballs in it. The grocery giant is now selling six-gallon buckets of Chef’s Banquet Macaroni & Cheese – that’s 27 lbs of cheesy goodness! According to the company, it remains edible up to 20 years after it’s bought. (So the cockroaches have something to snack on in the event of an apocalypse.) And believe it or not, they’re already sold out. 🧀 HuffPost


• A double-decker OC Transpo bus carrying nearly 90 passengers crashed in Ottawa on Friday, killing three and injuring 23 others on board.

• Rahaf Mohammed al-Qunun, the Saudi teen who fled her family in search of asylum, arrived in Toronto on Saturday after Canada offered to take her in as a refugee.

• The rumours have been confirmed: Maroon 5 will headline the 2019 Super Bowl half-time show.

• Cadillac is going electric. GM is rebranding the classic to compete with Tesla as its flagship EV label.

• Nominations for the 2019 Brit Awards were released this weekend and this time they’re all about the ladies.


• Due South

The first expedition to reach the South Pole, led by Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen, made it to the globe’s southernmost point on January 14, 1911.


• DJ Siri’s in the House!

2019’s new music trend is hella weird.

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